Both my husband and I like board games. Since we are both from Europe, we prefer European board games - The Settlers of Catan is my favorite, but we have very many different ones. Of course, they are way too early for Anna, so we started trying toddler board games with her. Hi-Ho Cheery-O was a short-lived hit, but Chutes and Ladders proved to be too long and too confusing. So one day my husband sat at the kitchen table and in ten minutes created a board game for our daughter. We play it together as a family every day now, and everyone has a blast. The game is played with a six-sized dice and with wooden game pieces. There is a musical square - you are supposed to sing a song if you end up there. There are a lot of squares that involve move backward or forward. There is also "hug kitty" square - Anna has a favorite toy and she is very excited when kitty (who sits on the table during the game) gets a hug. And there is a square that requires kissing a player on your right or on your left. It's simple, but it enforces a lot of concepts - left and right, backward and forward, taking turns, following directions, etc. And the best part is in the end - the winner gets a piece of chocolate and shares it with other players :)
We also play word games when we are in the car. Because ABC and 123 has "G-related" activities planned, we picked sound guh yesterday. I asked Anna to come up with some words that start with this sound. She volunteered guitar, goat, guest and get, then said that she wants to guess now (of course, at this point I pointed out to her that guess starts with sound guh too). When we play a guessing game, it's almost like a crossword. I tell her something about the target word, and she is trying to guess what it is. For example, an animal who lives in a jungle, likes bananas, and also lives in a zoo sometimes - gorilla. Someone who comes during Halloween, says Boo! and not real - ghost. Anna really has fun with this game, and I think it extended her vocabulary significantly.